|WASHINGTON (March 23, 2017) – Today, Tim White, a cattle producer from Lexington, Kentucky, testified before the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade regarding the future of America’s small family farms. In his testimony, White called on Congress to address the overly burdensome regulatory environment that is hampering rural America, repeal the federal estate tax, and to ensure the 2018 Farm Bill works for America’s cattle producers.
White said that as a small business owner, one of the biggest concerns he faces is over-regulation. EPA’s “waters of the United States” he said is a prime example of overregulation that would subject farmers and ranchers to unnecessary and costly permitting process.
“As a family-owned business, and knowing the detrimental impact this regulation could have on my operation, it is appalling that the agencies asserted that it would not have a significant economic impact on small businesses.”
White also called for the repeal of the federal estate tax, which is a leading cause of the breakup of multi-generational family farms.
“U.S. livestock producers understand and appreciate the role that taxes play in maintaining and improving our nation in many ways, however, they also believe that the most effective tax code is a fair one,” explained White. “For this reason, a full, immediate repeal of the estate tax must be a top priority as Congress considers comprehensive tax reform legislation.”
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 permanently extended the estate tax exemption level to $5 million per person/$10 million per couple. White said, “While we are grateful for the ATRA, the current state of our economy has left many agricultural producers guessing about their ability to plan for estate tax liabilities.”
White concluded his testimony discussing the 2018 Farm Bill and how it could positively or negatively affect many small family farms and ranches.
White stressed the farm bill must include a strong research title to ensure that the industry can remain as efficient and competitive as we can be in producing beef, a strong conservation title to protect programs like EQIP which have been very successful in helping producers do even more to protect our resources, as well as a robust animal health program including a FMD vaccine bank to respond to any potential outbreaks which would have a devastating impact on the nation’s beef industry.
“Estimates show that an FMD outbreak in the United States could cost our nation’s livestock producers billions of dollars in the first 12 months alone, “said White. “NCBA will be requesting support for the creation of a larger and more adequate FMD vaccine bank within the 2018 Farm Bill to include funding of $150 million dollars a year over five years. We feel that this FMD vaccine bank is vitally important to the beef industry as countries around the globe continue to grapple with this disease.”
Additionally, White said cattlemen oppose any attempt at government intervention in the marketplace, including mandatory Country-of-Origin labeling.
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